Playing in the unit CNTC finals, a couple of interesting problems came up this past weekend. On the first, All Vul, you hold this hand in 2nd seat. AK8 --- KJ42 AQ9752 and open 1C after a pass on your right. This goes 2C (standard Michaels) on your left, P by partner, 2H on your right. You come back in with 3C and it goes 3H on your left, P-P back to you. You are playing with an aggressive partner, so you know she does not have any 8 count, or any kind of decent Club support, and you know Hearts are not friendly, so the big question is, do you disturb this contract, and if so, with what.
First question is, can they have any play for 4H if you do take another call, your LHO should be showing a decent hand, either distribution, high card, or both, and your partner is limited. You do have the 6th Club and the Heart void going for you, but what are you going to do if they bid 4H, sit it or bid another time? At the table, this person passed 3H, and it made for -140. The problem was, they can make 5D as partner had xx Kxx Axxxxx xx, and in their methods, could not bid 2D over 2C. This cost 12 IMPS when our partners got to 5D making at the other table.
But even that was due to a bit of luck and a convention I do not personally like, Klinger. The auction at the other table went 1C – 2D (Klinger, showing the majors) and the Diamond hand doubled, showing Diamonds and some values. Now it was easy for them to get to 5D. That is my basic problem with Klinger, you show some 2 suiters by bidding 1 of the suits the opps will have to play in. You can never keep them out of openers suit, or NT, but Klinger makes it easier in some auctions for them to show marginal hands with the other suit they can play in by doubling, as was the case here.
The counter to that argument though, is if the auction goes 1C-2C Michaels, you have 3 bids available. If you play a variant of the Unusual vs Unusual over Michaels, the normal treatment then is 2D is 6-10 or so, 2H is a limit+ in openers suit, and 2S is 11+ in Diamonds, the other suit. So this hand still could have got in, playing something like that.
Next hand, you hold Jxx Jxxxx 10xx x NV vs Vul and hear it go 1D by partner, 1S on your right. You decide to pass, and it goes 2D on your left (good Spade raise), P by partner, 4S on your right. You pass and this ends the auction. You lead the stiff Club and table hits with K9x K Q98 QTxxxx. Partner wins the A of Clubs while declarer drops the J, cashes the K of Diamonds, and leads a small Club back for you to ruff. However when you return a 2nd Diamond, declarer ruffs, draws trump, and claims making 4. Looks like you missed the 2nd ruff until partner explains he only had 2 Clubs, they had a 10 card fit, and Partner did not have the Heart A.
Normal, expect at the other table, opener doubled the 2D bid, showing good Diamonds, so this hand decided to sack in 5D and your RHO bid 1 more to 5S. On the same defense, this went down 1, for another 12 IMP pickup. 5D would have gone for -500, so trying for 5S converted losing 4 IMPS into 12.
Last hand in this batch, All Vul you hold Ax Ax AQxxxx Kxx and hear it go P 1H to you. The hand is fairly good, so you decide to start with a Double, even if Spades can get you in trouble. This goes 2H on your left, 2N (Minors) by partner (nice partner!), 3H on your right. That is too bad, as it would have been nice to bid 3H with your hand, so what now.
This hand now bid 4D, assuming it was forcing after the double, except that it went all pass. The opening lead was a Heart, and dummy put down xxx x Kxxx Axxxx. It takes a Spade lead to beat 6 on the hand. The discussion was mainly what is forcing after 3H? How do you compete, or can you? At the other table, they got to 5D for the final 12 Imps from Diamonds.
The bridge in the final was a little inconsistent, with 10 game swings occurring in 28 boards (plus 2 more potential game swings), not counting all the part score swings. A lot of this was the boards were tough, with decisions having to be made in competition at the 5 level on several, but a few too many were mis-defense or questionable decision making both ways.